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MYTHS SURROUNDING MENTAL HEALTH

Updated: Jul 17

Mental health is not just the absence of a mental illness. Mental health comprises of a bigger picture in which positive characteristics, optimism and sound decision making denotes oneself as being mentally healthy.

We have seen around us people who are perfectly balancing their work and play, who have a sense of contentment, a zest for living, the ability to deal with the stress and bounce back, a sense of meaning and purpose, self-confidence, high self-esteem and the flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change. These people are not lucky to have got that attitude or personality, rather they understand their surroundings well as well as their emotions to adapt to the changes and come out stronger.

Majority of people often have a misconception of the term Mental Health and develop myths around it. We have seen our elders, our bosses, our teachers telling us that ‘it’s just a phase, you’ll come out of it’. But was it ever easy to completely get over something without it leaving a mark on our minds forever? No, it was not. It’s important to have complete knowledge and understanding of our mental health before it turns into a mental illness because after all prevention is better than cure.

There are certain myths that are attached around mental health and likewise the facts that shows the ground reality.


#MYTH : COUNSELING IS ENDLESS

Just like you get fine after taking a medicine for a fever, people who seek counseling discontinue it when they come out better. When people start feeling better and cope with the stress in a better way they terminate their counseling sessions.

#MYTH : COUNSELING IS EXPENSIVE

Counseling sessions are not always expensive, but it always depends on you as to how many sessions you want. Look at it as an investment, not expense. In a long run it's not much harm investing in yourself for a good mental health.

#MYTH : MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS ARE RARE

No, they are not. Majority of people are dealing with some kind of mental health issues which they don’t address until it becomes serious. One sound reason for this is the ‘taboo’ that is associated with the word mental illness.

Many people find it hard to reach out to people and seek help. Going to a psychologist/psychiatrist is not even considered an option. If we look at the statistics we will be shocked to see the percentages of people suffering from mental illnesses.

:Prevalence of mental disorders (Weighted %)

Many celebrities and big names have sought help of a counselor when in need!

#MYTH : COUNSELORS PRESCRIBE MEDICINES

Counseling psychologists do not prescribe medicine. Psychiatrists do. Counselors often use different therapeutic techniques while handling their clients.

#MYTH: MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS DO NOT EFFECT CHILDREN

Certain mental health illnesses trigger at a very young age because of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors. Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.

Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosed mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.

#MYTH : PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM ARE VIOLENT AND UNPREDICTABLE

Majority of people with mental health problem are diagnosed to be non-violent. In fact only 3%-4% people with severe mental health problems show signs of any kind of violent act. It had been found that majority of them are rather victims of violent and unacceptable acts such as rapes and physical abuse. Many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities without us even being aware of their sufferings.

#MYTH : PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ILLNESS ARE NOT CAPABLE OF HOLDING A JOB

People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees.

When employees with mental health problems receive effective treatment, it can result in Lower total medical costs, Increased productivity, Lower absenteeism and Decreased disability costs.

#MYTH : NO HOPE FOR RECOVERY OF A PERSON WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM

Just like any other illness, Mental Health problems also recover. Unlike other illnesses it requires more acceptance, patience, support, and compassion from the people around the one who is suffering. Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.

#MYTH : PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS CANNOT BE PROVIDED HELP

Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 44% of adults with diagnosed mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by reaching out and letting them know you are available to help, by helping them access mental health services, learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn't true, treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else, refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as "crazy".

#MYTH : MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM CANNOT BE PREVENTED

Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mental health problems. Promoting the social-emotional well-being of children and youth leads to higher overall productivity, better educational outcomes, lower crime rates, stronger economies, lower health care costs, improved quality of life, increased lifespan, and improved family life.

Now that we know some prevalent myths about Mental Health problems, its time to get informed. Changing attitudes and behaviors takes time, and it might seem like one person can’t possibly make a difference. Actually, we can all find small ways to help.


First, its very important to analyse from where we are getting informed. Today our sources of getting information are mostly social media platforms, TV channels, and news channels. We blindly believe whatever we are presented with. The stories they present are usually sensational or shocking because that’s what sells—but they don’t necessarily represent most people’s experiences. Thinking critically about where our information comes from can help us separate sensational stories from balanced points of view.


Second, we can all support laws and practices in our communities that stop discrimination against people with mental illnesses and promote inclusion.


Third, we can all spend time with people who experience mental illnesses to share and learn from each other. Volunteering with a community organization is a great way to connect with others.

References:

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts

http://yourdost.com/blog/2017/05/myths-about-counseling.html?q=/blog/2017/05/myths-about-counseling.html&

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